A Mystery in a Framed Wedding Certificate

By Maureen A. Taylor

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wedding certificates identification understanding maureen taylor

Peggy Mabb knows who’s in this framed wedding certificate. They are her paternal grandparents – Charles and Laura (Farley) Brooks from Atchison County, Missouri.

The date on this one appeared to have been changed, so she recently went to the county courthouse to verify the date. It was Feb. 14, 1906. The recorder at the courthouse thought the certificate with the photos was something special that the couple had made after their marriage.

How common were they?

The H.M. Crider Company of York Pennsylvania claimed to have issued these beginning in 1868. If you search using the terms “H.M Crider Company marriage certificate” you’ll see many different formats. Basically it was a printed form suitable for framing with ovals that could be used with small card photographs of the bride and groom. I’ve seen them with even a space for the minister’s image.


Some were black and white engravings while more expensive models were chromolithographed in full color.

When were they popular?

The peak period of popularity was during the 1870s and 1880s. I’m wondering if Peggy’s has a date of publication on it. 1906 is rather late for one of these certificates.

How often do I see these?

They were quite common. I think a lot of these certificates remain in family collections. I rarely see them at photo sales and ephemera shows.


Do you own one? Would you be willing to share a photo of it with us? Submit your wedding certificate or mystery photos to